Last night I rode the train up for the 15th Annual Pleasantville Crossword Puzzle Tournament, held for the first time at Will Shortz's beautiful new Westchester Table Tennis Center. I'll write about it later if I have time...
... well, not much time. But I'll note a few relevant things.
- Met a few new NPL members (new to me, not the NPL) at the annual Magic Wok dinner organized by Adam Cohen.
- That table tennis center is shiny and neat - I would have liked to grab a paddle and play, but all fifteen (maybe twenty?) tables were in use at 9pm on a Friday.
- I managed to solve the tournament puzzles before having to judge them. The finals grid (very impressive) will appear this Thursday, the rest next Mon-Wed. Wednesday's puzzle will be the debut of blog-commenters-turned-ACPT-buddies-turned-constructors Sara Kaplan and Barry "KarmaSartre" Franklin. Sara, a Westchesterian, was in attendance, and asked if I would speed-solve against her on her puzzle, which I was happy to do. I didn't beat her by much - it would have been close if Will hadn't changed a few words in one of her corners.
- During the Introduction Of The Judges, Will Shortz mentioned this site and the fact that I usually don't write anything to go along with my times. Well yeah, it's not a blog! While he set the room atwitter by revealing that I can do a Monday NYT in 1:20something and a Newsday in 1:06, it should be noted that Tyler Hinman can, too. It's not like I'm lapping the field here - I'm just the only one running around shouting "Look at me!!"
- Chips 'n' beer reception chez Shortz. Deb Amlen takes phone calls from NYT.com staff who are trying to deal with the online puzzle snafus, while she just wants to have some wine. Will reads emails on his iPad, noting that the first correct answer to the Patrick Berry contest came in at 10:17 pm. He didn't say if it was Jeffrey Harris, but it had to be, right? I feel good that it did not take me 17 minutes today to solve the puzzle and get the meta. But that's because it was an easy meta. (Or I'm just on a roll - I was the first correct MGWCC answerer!)
- The contest was pretty cool, though we connoisseurs shouldn't be as blown away by it as many commenters seem to be - it's an impressive meta given the constraints it placed on the daily puzzles, but I felt those puzzles suffered as a result. (Since Patrick Berry was making them, they were still comfortably above average - just not up to his usual snuff.) Always glad when Will tries something new, and now I want to pull out Adventures in Puzzling and get back into that...